Thalia’s Spring-Inspired Fabric Pocket Birth Announcements

Happy Monday everyone!  I’m thrilled to be back after a wonderful week of vacation in St. Lucia (more from that later) – and I hope you all enjoyed our little mini guide to Washington, DC while I was away.  Today I’m jumping right back into the wonderful world of paper with these sweet spring-inspired fabric pocket birth announcements from Elpitha at Print in Cursive!

From ElpithaStaci and Jason welcomed sweet Thalia just the day before Christmas Eve.  Despite the frigid winter air outside, she brightened the room as if spring had suddenly appeared (How appropriate she was to be named Efthalia, which means ‘to blossom’).

 

When it came time to think about a design for Thalia’s announcement, Staci knew she wanted a way to send multiple photos to family and friends.  A fabric pocket, lovingly sewn by Grandma, was the perfect way to package these photos along with a sweet note.  The announcement was letterpress printed in 3 colors on 220# Lettra cotton paper. 

Thank you so much Elpitha!

Design and Letterpress Printing: Print in Cursive

Newborn Photos: Katie Dudley Photography

Photo Credits: Print in Cursive

p.s. Thank you all so very much for all of your sweet comments, tweets, and emails regarding our happy news!  I can’t even begin to tell you how much all of your love and support has meant to us over the last week… we’re so excited to share this exciting journey with you!

DC Guide: Art + Letterpress Workshops

Illustration by Molly Jaques for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Every now and then I receive emails from new DC residents asking about art classes in the area.  So I thought I’d wrap up my little DC guide with a quick post about art and letterpress workshops in the DC area.  For this particular subject I’m expanding my boundaries to include options in Baltimore and Alexandria; it might be a bit farther for some DC residents to travel – but it’s worth it!

Meant to Be Calligraphy (Alexandria and Capitol Hill): Michele offers both Introduction to Contemporary Pointed Pen and Continuing with Contemporary Pointed Pen calligraphy classes, held at the Design Studio of Karson Butler Events in Capitol Hill and her home studio in Alexandria, Virginia. Students receive instruction as well as materials to continue refining their calligraphy skills at home.

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (Silver Spring):  Pyramid Atlantic recently celebrated its 31st anniversary, making it one of the longest-running art centers in the area. With a long list of experienced artists and instructors, Pyramid offers both studio rentals and art classes in a range of subjects, from letterpress printing and book arts to paper making and screen printing. For more experienced enthusiasts, you can also rent printing equipment after 5 hours of one-on-one instruction.

Typecase Industries (DC): Located in the O Street Studios in Northwest DC, this new letterpress, screen printing, and graphic design studio (run by three graduates of the Corcoran College of Art + Design) offers a limited number of workshops.

Baltimore Print Studios (Baltimore):  I had the pleasure of meeting BPS founders Kyle Van Horn and Kim Bentley at the Ladies of Letterpress Conference last year, and you might also remember them from their guest post on letterpress printing. Needless to say, these two know their stuff and are happy to impart their knowledge on anyone interested in learning about letterpress and screen printing.  They offer both classes, workshops, as well as the opportunity to rent presses for your own special projects.

Torpedo Factory (Old Town Alexandria): The Torpedo Factory offers a number of non-accredited art classes for both kids and adults.  You can check out the course schedule here.

Corcoran College of Art + Design (DC):  The Corcoran College of Art + Design is the only art school (that I know of!) located in downtown DC. The Corcoran offers accredited BFA and MFA programs, along with a number of continuing education courses in everything from digital media design to illustration.

Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore):  The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is a full-fledged art school with both BFA and MFA programs.  But like the Corcoran College of Art + Design, MICA offers a number of continuing education courses, from fine arts to photography to ceramics.

p.s. For DC-based artists and designers, did you know that you can rent studio space at the O Street Studios?  Fun!

DC Guide: Where to Shop

Molly Jacques DC Guide Illustration Oh So Beautiful Paper1 DC Guide: Where to Drink

Illustration by Molly Jacques for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Confession: I’m actually not a big shopper!  Sure, I make semi-regular visits to our DC-area Anthropologies and J. Crews, but you’re far more likely to find me browsing the garden section of my neighborhood hardware store (Go Frager’s!) than anywhere else.  At first I wasn’t sure what to include in a mini shopping guide for DC, but I figured I’ll just include some of the shops that I love and hope that you enjoy them, too!

Photo Credit: Trohv

Trohv  With locations in Baltimore and DC’s Takoma Park neighborhood, Trohv is pretty much my definition of the perfect store.  Trohv manages to be well curated and still offer a wide selection of beautiful goods, from furniture and home decor to kitchen goods to stationery and gifts (not to mention a ridiculously cute baby + kids section).

Nana  A super-cute boutique in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, Nana carries clothing lines from independent designers along with jewelry and a small selection of vintage clothes.  I love the cute dresses and necklaces!

Crooked Beat Records  I love music and, like handwritten stationery, vinyl has a very special place in my heart.  Crooked Beat in Adams Morgan is my favorite local source for new releases from indie artists and vintage records.

Consignment Shops  DC is sadly lacking in the thrift store department, so I turn to our local consignment shops when I’m looking for a great deal or for something vintage but still chic.  My two favorite consignment stores are Secondi in Dupont Circle (you can find great deals and adorable party dresses!) and Urban Chic on 14th Street.

Furniture Shops  I generally prefer antiques to new furniture, and if you know where to look you can often find a great deal on a fantastic piece.  My favorites include Modern Mobler (specializing in midcentury modern furniture) and Miss Pixie’s Furnishings and Whatnot.  We’re also big fans of the DC Big Flea, which takes place five times a year at the Dulles Expo Center.  You can find anything there, from furniture to antique prints to clothing (it’s also where we get most of our cocktail glasses!).

p.s.  If you love to cook, you’ll love a new shop in Capitol Hill called Sapore.  The entire store is dedicated to specialty oils and vinegars!

DC Guide: Great Places for Brunch + Sweets

Molly Jacques DC Guide Illustration Oh So Beautiful Paper1 DC Guide: Where to Drink

Illustration by Molly Jacques for Oh So Beautiful Paper

So now you know where we like to go out to dinner and have a great cocktail, but there are still two very important food-related topics to cover – brunch and sweets!  These are two things very near and dear to my heart; brunch is my favorite meal of the week (along with what seems like most of DC) and I have a ridiculous sweet tooth.  There are tons of great brunch spots in DC and more cupcakeries than you can shake a stick at, but today I thought I’d highlight just a few personal favorites…

Brunch

 

Photo Credits: Ted’s Bulletin

Belga Cafe  A Belgian restaurant in the middle of Capitol Hill, Belga offers a super-yummy European-inspired brunch with everything from thick Belgian waffles (of course) to crepes to omelettes.  It’s one of the most popular brunch spots on the Hill, so be prepared to wait (even if you have a reservation), but it’s so worth it.

Ted’s Bulletin  Located right across the street from Belga Cafe on Capitol Hill’s Barracks Row, Ted’s Bulletin really couldn’t be much different in terms of style and menu.  Ted’s is all about old school diner food – greasy burgers, delicious sandwiches, seriously amazing milkshakes, not to mention the homemade pop tarts – and they serve breakfast all day long!  We love the pancakes and omelettes, but T.U.B.S. – Ted’s Ultimate Breakfast Sammy – really should be experienced at least once.

Rosemary’s Thyme  Tucked away between Dupont Circle and Adam’s Morgan, Rosemary’s Thyme is such a little hidden gem of a restaurant, particularly when it comes to brunch.  The restaurant describes itself as a “Mediterranean kitchen” and there are lots of Turkish culinary influences on the menu.  With plenty of both indoor and outdoor seating (at least on nice days) and a family-friendly vibe, it’s one of my favorite brunch spots in all of DC.

Founding Farmers Founding Farmers is all about quality ingredients sourced from sustainable family-owned farms.  Brunch at Founding Farmers is still actually on our must-try list, but I’ve heard such good things that I had to include it here.  I was lucky enough to eat lunch here a while back and can’t wait to see what they offer for my favorite meal of the week.  I’ll come back with my report once we’ve had a chance to visit!

Sweets

 

Baked + Wired cupcakes (left) and Sweet Lobby macarons (right), both via my Instagram

The Sweet Lobby  I could not have been more thrilled when this adorable shop opened up on Barracks Row last year.  The Sweet Lobby offers cupcakes, macarons, and a variety of cookies.  Everything is fantastic, but I’m stuck on the macarons, which come in a rotating variety of amazing flavors (rose, orange cardamom, chocolate passionfruit, salted praline!) that change on a daily basis.

Baked + Wired  With some, ahem, rather famous cupcakeries in town, it’s almost controversial to ask a DC resident who makes the best cupcakes – I’ve personally been involved in heated discussions that mirror political debates!  With that said, no one else in DC comes close to the cupcakes at Baked + Wired.  Dense, sweet but not too sweet, with just the right balance between cake and frosting, and some seriously awesome flavor options.  My favorite (so far) is the carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting!

Dolcezza Gelato  With multiple locations around DC, Dolcezza is hands down our favorite gelateria in the District.  The gelato and sorbetto are made fresh every morning using high quality (and mostly local) ingredients, and we love some of the more exotic flavors, like quince, lime-cilantro, thai coconut, and orange-honey-cardamom.

DC Guide: Where to Drink

Molly Jacques DC Guide Illustration Oh So Beautiful Paper1 DC Guide: What To Do

Illustration by Molly Jacques for Oh So Beautiful Paper

DC is a very boozy city.  Together we work hard and we… drink a lot.  We’ve got some great beer joints and wine bars (DC tops the nation in per capita wine consumption), but it’s increasingly easy to find  amazing cocktails here too.  This is in large part to DC’s cocktail renaissance, something that’s been unfolding over the last few years, led by such luminaries as Derek Brown and Katie Nelson of the Columbia Room, Todd Thrasher of PX, or Jeff Faile of Fiola.  I’m sure we’re leaving a few really great places off this list, but that’s not a slight against them – there are too many to list in one post.  Andrew

 

The Passenger & Columbia Room

Photo Credits: Tyler Nelson via Prince of Petworth (left) and Matt Cook via We Love DC (right)

The Passenger – the creation of Derek Brown, DC’s King of the Cocktail, and his brother Tom – is one of our favorite bars with a very casual vibe.  Don’t limit yourself to a glass of wine or a beer, the Passenger employs some of the most talented bartenders I’ve ever met who can whip up just about any cocktail you can think of, from classic pre-Prohibition cocktails with obscure, hard-to-find ingredients to something created on the spot to suit your tastes.  There’s literally no menu; it’s up to you and your bartender to figure out what you’re having tonight.

Inside the Passenger is a bar-within-a-bar, the Columbia Room.  Entering the Columbia Room is like being inducted into a secret order of bartenders – through an unmarked door in the often boisterously noisy Passenger, you enter a serene and elegantly styled speakeasy where Derek and some of his top bartenders will ply you with some of the best and most lovingly-crafted drinks you’ll ever taste.  You can order a la carte or enjoy their three-course tasting menu, but either way the drinks will be great.  Just as importantly, the bartenders will walk you through each drink – its origins, its ingredients, the best way to make it, and more.  The Columbia Room also offers classes on Saturdays; these are musts for cocktail enthusiasts.  Make reservations or sign up for classes early, as these fill up quickly.

Fiola

In addition to serving amazing food, Fiola has one of the best bars in DC.  Head bartender Jeff Faile has put together a cocktail menu that features many classic cocktails, but along with new drinks and variations on old ones that incorporate Amari, or Italian bitters.  Trust me on this one: even if you don’t like Amari, or have never tried them, these drinks are great and will broaden your taste horizons in surprising ways.  Jeff has a great team of bartenders who love a challenge and are happy to whip something up for you on the spot to suit your tastes or ply you with some of their newest experiments and homemade liqueurs.

Biergarten Haus

The first time I walked into Biergarten Haus, one of H Street’s best spots, I felt like I had been transported straight to Bavaria in southern Germany.  This is definitely the closest I’ve ever come to recapturing the spirit of that amazing land.  Biergarten Haus serves up an array of fantastic German beers on tap, which you can order in a manageable half-liter glass or a gargantuan, German style liter stein (I recommend the latter).  There are no reservations, so be prepared to swoop in to grab a seat at one of the barrels that serves as a table (or better, a section at one of the long, communal tables) outside as soon as someone gets up to leave.

PX

PX is, like the Columbia Room, something of a modern speakeasy.  Located just outside of DC in Old Town Alexandria, PX lays behind an unmarked door with only a tiny blue light to indicate when it’s open.  Once inside, you’re treated to a vibe of 1920s decadence and some really fantastic cocktails invented by our local mad scientist of mixology, Todd Thrasher.  One of the best things to do here is watch the cocktails being made as Todd or one of his bartenders adds, drop by drop, homemade bitters and other ingredients to made some really fantastic and inventive drinks.  This is one of the first places I went that helped me fall in love with cocktails, and I still remember some amazing drinks that I don’t think I could replicate at home, like an Old Fashioned flavored with pecan water.  Reservations are a must.

ChurchKey

Photo Credit: ChurchKey (right); William Couch (left)

Upstairs from Birch & Barley, ChurchKey is probably the best beer bar in DC.  It has an amazing rotating selection of bottles and beers on tap, most of which you will never have heard of before.  You might even want to bring a notebook to write down the names of your favorites if you hope to remember them the next day and order them again sometime.  Once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand why Beer Director Greg Engert has won pretty much every beer award that has ever been invented.  (Also: why don’t high school guidance counselors ever tell you about careers like “Beer Director”?)  Check out their website before you visit, because ChurchKey often hosts special events and tastings for rare brews and cask-aged beers.

The Gibson

One reviewer called The Gibson a temple to cocktails.  Another of DC’s speakeasies, the Gibson is a reservations-only bar hidden behind an unmarked door in DC’s U Street neighborhood.  Here you’ll find, as with PX or the Columbia Room, some fantastic and lovingly made drinks, old and new.  The inside is dimly lit, decorated in dark woods and embossed leather, a fantastic atmosphere to savor a cocktail or three.